(a NEW Q&A grouping)

Compiler's note: This Question & Answer department ran in THEOSOPHY magazine from December 1951 to October 1962. If it turns out to be in every monthly issue, it will end up being a total of 131 articles. I'll keep listing the dates of the latest ones that I've scanned, numbering them as I go along. If I run into a month here and there where it wasn't run, I'll point it out. So far the first 27 articles were scanned from a total of 116 pages in the magazine, which is an average of 4.3 pages per article. Once I finish proofreading an article, the link will appear. As of this moment there are (27) finished articles.

All of the articles have the same Department name; there are no sub-titles. So to try and be somewhat helpful to the reader, who might want to come back, or point to, or provide the link to, any particular article on this index page, as I proofread each one, and come to know the questions being asked and answered, I will list only the questions next to each date and link, hoping that this will be enough to help the reader to find and get back to the article whenever desired and/or necessary.

(1) December 1951 [These 4 Questions are answered: (1) A man of mostly uncontrolled selfish desires will sometimes do something for a friend completely contrary to his usual attitude. Perhaps "friendship" itself inspired the man's high moral thoughts, and consequently an unselfish act? But what is this power of friendship? Or we might ask, too, what is this current that is forever contradicting the materialism of life? (2) Are there existing organizations that have declared purposes which are similar to the principles of U.L.T.? (3) It is stated in the U.L.T. Declaration that the Lodge "does not concern itself with dissensions or differences of individual opinion." This sounds like a good policy, but rather impractical. It is also said that "The policy of this Lodge is INDEPENDENT devotion to the cause of Theosophy." The adjective, independent, immediately suggests individual ways of devoting and applying oneself, with consequent differences of opinion. Again, in the third paragraph, we find the expression "SIMILARITY" of aim and purpose instead of "sameness." These distinctions appear to point at differences instead of away from them; yet if the Lodge is not "concerned" with differences, are they ignored or superficially smoothed over? (4) Even though Theosophy should, because of its very nature, foster the most universal and open-minded of attitudes in its students, one often sees the tendency in them, and in oneself, to narrow the vision; to make of Theosophy a religion instead of a philosophy. Having devoted a great deal of time and energy to the study of Theosophy -- sometimes to the exclusion of other interests -- one may find that Theosophical DOCTRINES have a monopoly on his thinking. He may find himself using his conception of Theosophy as a static "frame of reference" into which other ideas either fit or do not fit, and are unthinkingly judged good or bad accordingly. How can we avoid this essentially "religious" attitude?]

(2) January 1952 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) Are there any evident indications that the Western world is progressing toward the recognition of Theosophical concepts and teachings? (2) How many "decisions" that we think we ourselves make are actually our own?]

(3) February 1952 [These 4 Questions are answered: (1) Should we look for difficult situations in which to place ourselves, in an attempt to stir up our Karma for more rapid learning? (2) What did Mr. Crosbie mean when he said we should work to transform personalities into living souls? Does this mean that the personality hinders soul development? (3) Should there be provisions made for religion in our public school system, for the individual students who would want this? (4) In the book, THE UNINVITED, a well-known novel of psychic experience by Dorothy Macardle, a "spirit" at a séance keeps inventing untruths. Can a "spirit" actually do this, since I understand that the astral shell, or kama-rupa, can only repeat, and not create?]

(4) March 1952 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) Membership cards are generally thought of as being just part of the paraphernalia of organizations. Since ULT is said to be a free association of students, what, then, is the reason for the membership card of the Lodge? (2) In what ways do the doctrines of Naturalism and Supernaturalism have significance to Theosophists?]

(5) April 1952 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) Why, as was strikingly illustrated by an article in This Week which related several "freak" incidents of thought transference or "coincidence," do some twins think alike and have the same answers? One example cited was of identical twin sisters who, according to the questionnaires they answered separately, had almost identical habits, tastes, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. Is not the Theosophic concept of individuality, commonly expressed in the proverb that not even two blades of grass are identical, refuted by this example? (2) How can young people in the Lodge reconcile their need for social life with their desire to play an active part in the activities of the Lodge? How can young Theosophists maintain their interest in Theosophy in the face of other attractions and at the same time perhaps interest other young people? (3) What is meant by the statement that Nirvana is a state of "Unconditioned Existence?"]

(6) May 1952 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) Memory has been offered as a proof of the existence of self. "Suppose," says one author, "that we see a ship on the sea and then turn away; we can recall that image at will and even compare it with the image of a ship we saw years ago. What is it that remembers, if not the self?" he asks. Yet in the teachings it is said that the pictures of memory reside in the Astral Light. How, then, can one prove this metaphysical reality in these terms, if astral substance -- a form of PHYSICAL substance -- is the stuff of memory? (2) Why are so many Sunday and Wednesday evening lectures devoted to a consideration of the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, since the basic principles upon which the "twin doctrines" operate are relatively simple and easy to comprehend and this much repetition seems unnecessary? (3) Why do materialists and agnostics show impatience or dislike for Theosophical postulating of an "Unknowable" yet "Divine" Principle as the essence of man?]

(7) June 1952 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) It is said we bind ourselves to people by our love and hate. What can be said of someone trying to "work out" his Karma with someone he dislikes in order to break the bond of hate? (2) What is (a) the scientific, as well as (b) the theosophical, basis for advocating abstention from alcohol? (c) How can we help the youth of today see the truth of the matter?]

(8) July 1952 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) Why is it that people accept the ideas presented in the great classics and admit they are great, yet they reject Theosophical literature which only presents the same ideas in a more positive manner? (2) In our many different experiences, we sometimes feel inadequate in defining such terms as "Soul," "Personality," "Ego," and "Monad" in their Theosophical context. Could some Theosophical explanation be given for these terms?]

(9) August 1952 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) How does Theosophy reconcile the principle of the unity of all life, brotherhood, in short, with the rule of life which prevails in the vegetable and animal kingdoms -- the survival of the fittest? (2) Are there any non-religious atheists? (3) A postulate is to be taken by a student and proven for himself. Yet how can anyone prove the first, or even second, fundamental postulate of Theosophy? Is this not a misuse of the word "postulate"?]

(10) September 1952 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) How does the Theosophical concept of promulgating Universal Brotherhood -- thus bettering the lot of mankind as a whole -- compare with various socio-economic reform movements calculated to achieve what is commonly called "One World" and over-all prosperity? (2) How can parents and teachers avoid being overprotective of children and allow them the experiences which are necessary for growth?]

(11) October 1952 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) What is the source of that inspirational drive towards self-realization and knowledge which some men are able to manifest to a degree far beyond the capacity of the average? (2) Some psychologists feel that a certain amount of rationalization may be necessary in assigning motivations for our actions. But would a new set of values perhaps supplant the need for rationalization? (3) What are the advantages and disadvantages of answering all questions "yes, and no"? Even though this may be philosophically correct, it frequently only annoys people.]

(12) November 1952 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) The modern child seems to have lost his natural interest in reading (except for trash) and therefore is missing the values to be gained from a good book. Why is this, and what can be done to stimulate constructive reading? (2) Is it possible to use "the indirect method of geometric proof" to prove rhetorically the existence of universal law? (3) How do we go about detecting and eliminating prejudice within ourselves?]

(13) December 1952 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) Are the principles and basic assumptions upon which modern day democracy is founded compatible with the teachings of Theosophy? (2) The oldest question in the world seems to be "What is the purpose of life?", and often people ask it somewhat unhappily.]

(14) January 1953 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) What methods and attitudes of mind can best be used in attempting to discuss controversial doctrines with religious devotees CONSTRUCTIVELY? (2) How may one diplomatically face the "collection fiends" in a typical business office, where such collections reach ridiculous proportions?]

(15) February 1953 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) Is it possible to set up standards adequate for judging moral conduct? (2) Does the disciplined aspirer, who has devoted his disciple energies towards complete self-mastery over the lower principles of man in himself, experience pleasure, satisfaction, or reward? If so, what is the nature or quality of these experiences? (3) What is the relationship of Patriotism to Theosophy?]

(16) March 1953 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) Both young and old find a fascination in observing a skilled craftsman at work. How might young people be steered from the prevalent spectator attitude to that of an eager participant? (2) In study do we take the great universal ideas and make something small, rigid and personal out of them? What is the answer to this? (3) Why do lecturers at U.L.T. -- when examining the significance of the Theosophical Movement -- consistently refer to early Neoplatonism as a salient factor?]

(17) April 1953 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) What is the psychological meaning of competition in sports such as baseball, football, etc.? Is not competition conducive to personal triumph? (2) Is a familiarity with current trends in psychology and philosophy necessary, (a) in furthering Theosophic first principles, (b) in "understanding the meaning of the present Theosophical Movement," and (c) in gaining a truer perspective on Theosophic Doctrine?]

(18) May 1953 [These 4 Questions are answered: (1) What is the extent of influence that an actor portraying an evil role in a drama of moral worth has upon the audience? Is the actor attuning himself to evil? (2) Does Theosophy, and do groups of associates formed by Theosophical students, provide an outlet for the religious instinct in man? Many features of orthodox religion, one of which is ritualism, seem to give believers a "sense of balance" for their psychic natures. (3) When two people dislike each other and one attempts reconciliation with evident failure, what should his attitude and course of action be? Should he cease further attempts? How does he finally work such a thing out, and is he the one to determine the answer? (4) How could intelligence be defined so that the difference between the intelligence of the self-conscious being and that of the intelligences of nature will be clear? For instance, how could electricity be said to be intelligent? Man's intelligence is creative, but nature is only repetitive.]

(19) June 1953 [These 4 Questions are answered: (1) If a person were not performing his job as well as might he expected, would it be better to leave the job so his employer could get someone more competent, or should he stay, although it might take a long time to improve his ability to do a good job? (2) Why is it that whenever Theosophy is mentioned people close their minds to it? If you call it something else, philosophy, truth or nature, they will listen to it and see its reasonableness. (3) What is the value of giving one's life for a principle? What factors might enter the case in deciding? (4) Why are the three fundamentals of Theosophy continuously presented in the traditional order of omnipresent Deity, natural law, and the identity of perfectibility of life? Is this only because "H.P.B. did it that way"?]

(20) July 1953 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) How should a Theosophist handle the situation when a rank materialist, having discovered the Theosophist's Gita or similar book, starts to bandy the teachings about in a flippant way? (2) In reference to the second object of the Theosophical Society ... to study ancient religions, philosophies and sciences and to demonstrate the importance of such study. ... How would one go about demonstrating the importance of such study?]
    [Note: I copied and placed three pages of material from the June, 1953 "On The Lookout" Department of THEOSOPHY magazine, that is mentioned and referred to in the answer to the first question, at the end of it.--Compiler.]

(21) August 1953 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) Why are so many successful artists and writers, although they are valuable to society, so unhappy? (2) How can Theosophists guard themselves against the danger of becoming too "intellectual"? It may be that it is just as bad to be not "intellectual" enough as to be too much so. But how can one tell when the line of balance is passed in either direction? (3) What might be the value of giving one's life for a principle? What factors might enter the case in deciding?]

(22) September 1953 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) Many worthy men who belong to established religious institutions are engaged in the liberalization of these institutions in the hope that a greater majority of people will be able to reach a truer spiritual understanding. Should not Theosophists, themselves, become affiliated with "liberal religion"? (2) What should a Theosophist do if he feels that a platform speaker is merely expressing something he believes in blindly?]

(23) October 1953 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) How can we get away from the past, in that the past determines the present and in so doing determines the future as well? It would seem to be a vicious circle. When can one best give a new impulse to a cycle? (2) Why does the statement, "The mission of the Soul is work," strike a discordant note with us, and why has play come to be at odds with work? (3) How can one maintain a willing attitude towards others and at the same time avoid having people take advantage of him?]

(24) November 1953 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) In the past other great Teachers have promulgated the Theosophical teachings, yet the world in general still goes on believing its old ideas. Won't the present Theosophical Movement eventually die out or become hidden the way previous efforts did? If so, what is the use? Also, we are in the Iron Age so how can we hope to achieve our goal? (2) How can one develop a greater love for humanity? How can we extend our sympathy and understanding for those we do not see?]

(25) December 1953 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) We all admit and know the value of those who reach revolutionary, inspiring conclusions about the nature of man without the benefit of church or religious group. The ideas and convictions they hold are truly their own. How much should we, who are constantly surrounded by philosophical ideas and earnestly studious people, depend on and be influenced by the Lodge, its books for study and its members? [Note: The word "Lodge" refers to "The United Lodge of Theosophists".--Compiler.] (2) How can one develop a greater love for humanity and extend sympathy and understanding for those we do not see? (3) In a recent meeting it was said we should live as souls. How would one, unfamiliar with the Theosophical concept of the nature of man, wish to live a "life of the soul" when what he is able to perceive with his senses is that happy living concerns the tangible part of his nature, the body and its desires?]

(26) January 1954 [These 2 Questions are answered: (1) With some there is an intuitive realization of the validity of Theosophic principles and ideals, although intellectually some may not "know" the philosophy well enough to adequately describe or explain its logic to anyone else. Conversely, an arm-chair philosopher or intellectual may have a comprehensive grasp of Theosophic doctrine and many of the intricacies involved in its theoretical development, yet fail to make it a living power in his life. How account for these discrepancies, and, since even in the first instance there are genuine discrepancies, what price must be paid for the imperfections thus represented? (2) What is the role of independence -- or self-dependence -- if it must ultimately give way to interdependence? Why is it necessary to develop the first only to have it replaced by the second?]

(27) February 1954 [These 3 Questions are answered: (1) In a recent meeting it was said we should live as souls. How would one unfamiliar with the Theosophical concept of the nature of man wish to live a "life of the soul," when what he is able to perceive with his senses is that happy living concerns the tangible part of his nature, the body and its desires? [Note: This same exact question was the 3rd one in the 25th article in this department, but the answer was completely different than the one in this 27th article.--Compiler.] (2) Montaigne, in his essays, presents interesting commentary on the stabilization of society, which goes something like this: In the first place, if we try to change the customs and way of thinking of other groups of people we are stirring up rebellions and possible violent revolutions. Therefore, if we are to change either customs or ideas they should be our own, and by being tolerant of other people we can perhaps learn from them instead of making their ideas and customs conform to our own. This is all fine, but what of the idealist or the socialist who feels that many of the problems of mankind are the result of class struggle or a particular form of government, and who proclaims to the world that we must change these conditions to liberate men? What of a person who sees danger in the moral authoritarianism of Roman Catholicism, and proclaims to the world that Catholicism is to be shunned? Men with these concerns are not following Montaigne's advice, but do we think the less or the more of them because they don't? (3) Mr. Judge states in LETTERS THAT HAVE HELPED ME (p. 20): "Each one who really comes into Theosophy does so because it is only an 'extension of previous beliefs.' For no idea we get is any more than an extension of previous ones. That is, they are cause and effect in endless succession." Why then are newcomers to Theosophy admonished to drop previous beliefs in considering new ones?]

(Compiler's note: Because I won't be back here for a while, here's the link to the location on the "Additional" articles Index page where you can see the "Nine Groupings of Articles" that I'm currently working on, little by little, which this 4th grouping is in. You will see a link to each grouping's index page, a notation of how many articles are currently finished in each one, as well as a notation showing you the particular grouping that I'm presently working on. Once you see that I'm working back here again, and that the next article, number 28, has already been done, but you don't see it when you come here, all you have to do is click on your system's Reload or Refresh button in order to bring this page up to date.)
(28) [Next article]

...and so on, up to a possible total of (131) articles. All of the ones not listed haven't been pulled off the bookshelf and scanned yet.

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